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How to establish long-term fitness habits

We all know it’s good to keep fit. When a new year starts and your friends and family start to focus on their fitness goals too, it can be easy to feel motivated and to start yourself on a fitness plan. But, how do you keep up that momentum once everyone else begins to drop off? How can you turn those exercise sessions into fitness habits and move from short-term to long-term wellness? Here are a few key tips on how to establish long-term fitness habits.

Have a realistic fitness goal in mind

Before you embarked upon this new fitness journey, you probably had a vague idea of why you were doing it. Maybe you wanted to feel less tired walking up hills, or perhaps you just wanted to feel a bit better in your own skin. While these are great reasons to start, it can be hard to motivate yourself to continue with such a vague goal.

If you’re looking to stick to your fitness plan for the long-term, a solid, specific goal is really helpful. Whether your fitness goal is big or small, you need to spell it out in simple terms. For instance, “I want to lose half a stone in 3 months so that I can fit into my swimsuit for my summer holiday”. This gives you a clear target to aim for, whilst also telling you where to focus your energy in the gym.

Remove any potential barriers

This may seem obvious, but it can be easily forgotten along the way. Procrastination is often born from uncertainty, and this uncertainty is probably caused by those things you’ve neglected to think about and remove. Make it as easy as possible for you to complete your workout. 

This could mean planning your workout before you get to the gym, so there’s no in-between time while you decide on your routine. It could be laying out your clothes and a water bottle the night before your morning run and placing your shoes by the door. Perhaps you’re skipping the gym after work a lot because it’s out of your way on the drive home – maybe you should choose a new gym that’s en route. It’s all about being proactive and making sure you are ready to go when you need to be.

Do the work out you enjoy

If you hate your work out, you simply won’t do it. Just because your friend loves indoor cycling, it doesn’t mean that you will. That latest fitness trend may look fun in the videos, but actually, you’d rather just do a normal session at the gym. You need to find something you like, so keep giving things a try until you find the one that works for you.

That’s not to say that you should stick to the exact same routine every time you work out. It’s best to be able to keep pushing yourself, so find ways to keep improving whatever you choose.

Choose your work out buddy carefully

No doubt you’ve been told before that having a work out buddy will help you stick to your fitness regime. That you’ll be less likely to skip exercise if you feel like you’re letting them down, and that they will help to keep you motivated.

Whilst this sentiment is true to some degree, it’s important to choose your work out buddy very carefully. If you choose someone who is likely to let you down a lot then they can actually be detrimental to your fitness goals, as you might find yourself picking up their bad habits and skipping workouts. Make sure you choose someone who is just as attached to their goals as you are. 

Be aware of your own progress

Whether it’s feeling happier in your own skin, finally getting a good night’s sleep, or just being able to walk up a steep hill without feeling out of breath, make sure you keep an eye out for your own personal progress indicators. Noticing those little differences can really motivate you to push on and achieve more.

The easiest way to establish long-term fitness habits is simply to keep going. Make your workouts easier to accomplish, make them enjoyable and keep an eye on your progress and you’ll find it a lot easier to keep going. 

What are your best tips for establishing long-term fitness habits? Let us know in the comments!

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